How to Pot Pond Plants (Easy Steps)

We are 100% reader supported. We may earn commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. Read our disclosure.

Share this page!

When it comes to choosing pond plants, it’s important to select a variety of species that serve different purposes and thrive in your specific pond environment. Some common types of aquatic plants include floating plants, submerged plants, and emergent plants. Each type contributes to the overall health and balance of your water garden and can create an attractive, diverse display.

Before potting your pond plants, you need to consider factors such as the pond’s water depth, light availability, and climate. By understanding these factors, you will be better equipped to select appropriate plant species and ensure they receive the necessary care to grow to their full potential.

Choosing the Right Plants

Pickerelweed on pond edge
Pickerelweed is a tall marginal plant that can attract bees and butterflies. gailhampshire / CC BY 2.0

Floating Plants

Floating plants are essential for a balanced pond ecosystem and provide shade and shelter for aquatic wildlife. Some popular floating plants include:

Make sure to manage their growth, as some of these plants can quickly cover the entire pond surface if left unchecked.

Marginal Plants

Marginal plants grow around the pond’s edge and provide important habitat for wildlife such as frogs and dragonflies. They also help prevent soil erosion and filter pollutants from the water. A few popular choices include:

  • Pickerelweed: A tall plant with purple flowers that attracts butterflies and bees.
  • Iris: Adds a splash of color to the pond edges and can tolerate a range of water depths.

Choose a variety of these plants to provide diverse habitat and texture to your pond ecosystem.

Submerged Plants

Submerged plants oxygenate the water, provide habitat for fish, and can help control algae growth by competing for nutrients. Some options to consider are:

  • Hornwort: An easy-to-grow plant that doesn’t require substrate to root in, making it perfect for ponds without soil.
  • Anacharis: Commonly used in aquariums, this plant can help reduce algae while providing hiding spots for fish and other aquatic life.

Plant these in underwater pots or anchor them to the pond floor to keep them in place.

Bog Plants

Bog plants are well-adapted to growing in very wet soil near the pond edges. They create a diverse and visually appealing pond environment while supporting various wildlife. Examples of bog plants include:

As you choose plants for your pond, consider their growth requirements and potential impact on the overall ecosystem. Prioritize native species to support local wildlife and maintain a balanced pond environment.

Selecting Containers and Positioning

Water lily in container
A variety of materials can be used for pond plant containers, from plastic to ceramic! Linda N. / CC BY 2.0

Container Materials

When choosing containers for pond plants, consider materials such as:

  • Ceramic: Durable and decorative, ceramic containers can add a stylish touch to your pond in a pot.
  • Plastic: Lightweight and affordable, plastic containers are an easy option for your water feature.
  • Metal: Metal containers, such as whiskey barrels or galvanized tubs, can provide a unique, rustic look.

Keep in mind that some materials may impact water quality or temperature, so be cautious when choosing the right container for your pond plant.

Container Size and Depth

For a successful pond-in-a-pot, consider the following factors when selecting container size and depth:

  • Size: Select a container large enough to support the growth of your pond plant, giving it enough space to flourish.
  • Depth: Consider the water depth required for your chosen pond plant – some may need deeper water to thrive, while others may prefer shallower water.
  • Rocks: Adding rocks to the bottom of your container can provide extra support and stability for your pond plants, as well as improve the visual appeal of your pond-in-a-pot.

Arrangement and Design

Creating an eye-catching arrangement for your pond plants involves balancing both practical and aesthetic aspects, such as:

  • Positioning: Place your container in an area that receives adequate sunlight, provides the necessary shade for your pond plants, and shows off your water feature.
  • Layering: Arrange your pond plants at different levels within the container to create visual depth and texture. You can use rocks or other objects to prop up the plants as needed.

Planting and Care

Rainwater collection
If your pond’s chlorine levels are too high, consider using rainwater to reduce them. Kmtextor, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Soil and Planting Techniques

  • Start by selecting suitable aquatic soil for your pond plants, which should be nutrient-rich and well-draining.
  • When planting, dig holes about twice the width and depth of the roots.
  • Place the plant in the hole, and gently backfill it with soil. Be sure to cover the roots completely, but avoid burying the plant’s crown.
  • Adding a layer of gravel on top of the soil can help anchor the plant and prevent some algae growth by reducing sediment disturbance.
  • It is important to allow your plants to acclimate to their new environment gradually. Introduce them to the pond by placing them in a shallow area for a few days before moving them to their final location. This will reduce the initial shock of the new water conditions.

Water Quality and Maintenance

  • Regularly monitor your pond’s water quality to keep your plants healthy. Too high or low pH levels and residual chlorine in tap water can stress plants and lead to poor growth.
  • To reduce chlorine levels, let tap water sit for 48 hours before adding it to the pond, or consider using rainwater or filtered water.
  • Maintain a consistent water level in your pond, especially during warm months. Adding water may be necessary to compensate for evaporation, but avoid overfilling, which can lead to nutrient imbalances.
  • Encourage beneficial bacteria growth by adding a small waterfall or fountain for aeration. Running water also discourages mosquito breeding and helps prevent algae blooms.
  • Clean your pond regularly by removing debris, maintaining filters, and topping off with debris-free water when needed.

Seasonal Care

  • In the spring and summer, add fertilizer designed for aquatic plants to promote healthy growth.
  • Algae growth can be hazardous for pond plants. Introduce algae-eating fish or use non-toxic algae treatment to control algae populations.
  • During the fall, prepping the pond for winter is crucial. Trim dying foliage and remove fallen leaves to minimize organic debris.
  • In areas with harsh winters, consider overwintering your sensitive pond plants indoors or move them to the deepest part of the pond, where the water temperature is warmer and more stable.
Chris G
About the author

Chris G

Pond consultant and long-time hobbyist who enjoys writing in his spare time and sharing knowledge with other passionate pond owners. Experienced with pond installation, fish stocking, water quality testing, algae control and the troubleshooting of day-to-day pond related problems.

Read more about Pond Informer.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.